Objective: HDL is anti-atherogenic and has antioxidant property. HDL dysfunction has been reported in patients with coronary heart disease and we hypothesize that HDL may also be dysfunctional in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition associated with increased oxidative stress.
Methods: 128 OSA patients and 82 controls were recruited. HDL dysfunction was determined by evaluating the ability of HDL to inhibit LDL oxidation ex vivo. Plasma HDL was incubated with native LDL in the presence of dichlorofluorescein which fluoresced upon interaction with lipid oxidation products. Plasma levels of oxidized LDL and 8-isoprostane were measured by ELISA and a specific enzyme immunoassay, respectively.
Results: Plasma total 8-isoprostane levels were elevated in OSA subjects (p<0.01). Despite having similar concentrations of plasma lipids and apolipoproteins as controls, OSA subjects had greater degree of HDL dysfunction (p<0.01) and increased oxidized LDL levels (p<0.05). The apnea-hypopnea index was the main determinant of HDL dysfunction in OSA, accounting for 30% of its variance, with oxidized LDL and apolipoprotein AI contributing to 8% and 5% of its variance respectively (p<0.001).
Conclusion: HDL is dysfunctional in preventing the formation and inactivation of oxidized lipids in OSA subjects and may partly contribute to their increased cardiovascular risk.